Marcia Rowe, Gleaner Writer
"You parasitic beast! Go to your seat at the back of the class!" my teacher's words echoed in my ears as I slowly obeyed. I was ten years old."
Cutting words that may easily be mistaken for lines from a script or a novel but alas that was only part of Marcia Weekes's traumatic childhood experience.
Jamaica-born Weekes, the brain behind the Caribbean films HUSH parts one to three and the currently sought after Chrissy, shares her story of adversity and triumph with The Gleaner.
Her early life was a picture of perpetual pain. She grew up in Big Lane, Central Village in abject poverty.
Zinc fence, guns calling, beatings, screams, fist fighting, hunger were her daily experiences. She went to school, Spanish Town Primary, with uncombed hair and a faded dress because her only uniform was old and tattered. The circumstances made her a very shy girl.
At age 11 Weekes said she experienced her first sign of a "slight rainbow over the horizon."
A determined mother and grandmother encouraged her to study . She subsequently passed the Common Entrance Examination for St Andrew High School For Girls. A success that Weekes described as surprising.
"I was supposed to be happy but too numb to understand what this achievement meant." she said.
In spite of having to attend high school while wearing bottomless shoes, carrying a ripped school bag and having to survive on food given to her by her schoolmates, the rainbow only got brighter.
Weekes attended the University of Technology (UTech) and earned a bachelors of science in accounting from York College.
After spending 11 years in the United States of America, she moved to Barbados where she began her journey as a scriptwriter, producer, and film director.
In four years she has produced four films, Hush parts one, two, and three and Chrissy.
The four depict elements of her childhood but "Chrissy is my catharsis," she explained.
Chrissy, like her life, has produced some surprises for Weekes.
It is the most successful to date. In addition to being shown in Barbados, the movie has been shown in Toronto, Birmingham and there are plans to take it to South Africa toward the end of the year.
"I am totally surprised by the responses and attractions it is getting. I consider the movie to be special," she said, despite the fact that the movie was only released because Hush 4 was not quite finished.
It was a joy working with the more than 200 children for the film.
Weekes, sojourn into film began after writing, directing and touring with her first musical Speak Life, for Praise Academy.
"One morning I woke up with the inspiration to write films that speak of principles, things that happen in society, like Hush one that explores teenage pregnancy," said Weekes.
With no formal training in the film industry, her understanding of the art is learnt on the job.
She believes she has grown as a writer, director and as a person.
"I am better with scripts, I learn a lot of patience. How to work with people, actors crew and I am still learning."
Weekes also credited Manetta Carter-Narcisse, who has Hollywood experience for helping her with preproduction activities for Chrissy.
All four of Weekes films are set in Barbados, and many Jamaicans are asking why.
"Barbados is where I live and where I started," has been her reply. But the Jamaican said she would be elated to do something that shows the beauty and joy of Jamaica.
In the meantime, Jamaicans can only await the release of Hush 4; she is not ready to say what it is about yet.
Marcia Weekes is also a wife and the mother of three boys. How does she mange family and the demands of a budding film career?
"My whole family is involved. They are the first to read and critique the script."
Weekes's husband, Dave, is the executive producer of the movies. her eldest son (18) works with the production team and her youngest son has a cameo role in Chrissy.